Constructing My World: A Case Study Examining Emergent Bilingual Multimodal Composing Practices

Abstract

An extensive focus on written language in early literacy instruction and assessment for emergent bilinguals places students at a disadvantage since they are learning English as a new language. Typically, classroom instruction has a narrow view of literacy and is dominated by a focus on tested skills, with little emphasis on the diverse backgrounds and experiences of today’s students. In order to value the rich meaning-making process that emergent bilinguals bring with them to the classroom, this article explores the ways in which technology affords multimodal composing opportunities. A case of one emergent bilingual, Alon, whose home language is Tagalog, is presented to showcase his text productions as responses to children’s literature. The findings help extend an understanding of articulating meaning through talk, contributions of written language, and the importance of the visual mode. This case helps educators see the need to take into account a cohesive portrait of composing processes as a way to make sense of the strengths of emergent bilingual students in English-only classrooms.

This is a preview of subscription content, access via your institution.

References

  1. Axelrod, Y. (2014). ‘¿Tu te acuerdas de ganchulinas?’: Longitudinal research with young emergent bilinguals. Contemporary Issues in Early Childhood, 15(2), 94–108.

    Google Scholar 

  2. Barone, D., & Barone, R. (2017). Rethinking reader response with fifth graders’ semiotic interpretations. The Reading Teacher. https://doi.org/10.1002/trtr.1563.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  3. Baroutsis, A., Kervin, L., Woods, A., & Comber, B. (2019). Understanding children’s perspectives of classroom writing practices through drawing. Contemporary Issues in Early Childhood, 20(2), 177–193.

    Google Scholar 

  4. Bauer, E. B., Presiado, V., & Colomer, S. (2017). Writing through partnership: Fostering translanguaging in children who are emergent bilinguals. Journal of Literacy Research. https://doi.org/10.1177/1086296X16683417.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  5. Bearne, E. (2009). Multimodality, literacy, and texts: Developing a discourse. Journal of Early Childhood Literacy, 9(2), 156–187.

    Google Scholar 

  6. Bentley, D., & Souto-Manning, M. (2019). PreK stories: Playing with authorship and integrating curriculum in early childhood. New York: Teachers College Press.

    Google Scholar 

  7. Clanton, B. (2016). It came in the mail. New York: Simon & Schuster.

    Google Scholar 

  8. Clay, M., Gill, M., Glynn, T., McNaughton, T., & Salmon, K. (2015). Record of oral language: Observing changes in the acquisition of language structures. Australia: Scholastic Australia.

    Google Scholar 

  9. Coates, E., & Coates, A. (2006). Young children talking and drawing. International Journal of Early Years Education, 14(3), 221–241.

    Google Scholar 

  10. Dagenais, D., Toohey, K., Bennett Fox, A., & Singh, A. (2017). Multilingual and multimodal composition at school: ScribJab in action. Language and Education, 31(3), 263–282.

    Google Scholar 

  11. Dean, J. (2012). Pete the cat saves Christmas. New York: Harper Collins.

    Google Scholar 

  12. Dyson, A., & Genishi, C. (2005). On the case: Approaches to language and literacy research. New York: Teachers College Press.

    Google Scholar 

  13. Dyson, A. H. (2018). From superman play to singing the blues: On the trail of child writing and popular culture. Language Arts, 96(1), 37–46.

    Google Scholar 

  14. Flewitt, R. (2011). Bringing ethnography to a multimodal investigation of early literacy in the digital age. Qualitative Research, 11(3), 293–310.

    Google Scholar 

  15. García, O., & Kleifgen, J. (2018). Educating emergent bilinguals: Policies, programs, and practices for English language learners (2nd ed.). New York: Teachers College Press.

    Google Scholar 

  16. Genishi, C., & Dyson, A. (1984). Language assessment in the early years. Norwood, NJ: Ablex.

    Google Scholar 

  17. Gort, M. (2019). Developing bilingualism and biliteracy in early and middle childhood. Language Arts, 96(4), 229–243.

    Google Scholar 

  18. Hopewell, S., & Escamilla, K. (2014). Struggling reader or emergent biliterate student? Reevaluating the criteria for labeling emergent bilingual students as low achieving. Journal of Literacy Research, 46(1), 68–89.

    Google Scholar 

  19. Jewitt, C., Bezemer, J., & O’Halloran, K. (2016). Introducing multimodality. New York: Routledge.

    Google Scholar 

  20. Kalantzis, M., & Cope, B. (2012). Literacies. New York: Cambridge University Press.

    Google Scholar 

  21. Krashen, S. (2003). Explorations of language acquisition and use. Portsmouth, NH: Heinemann.

    Google Scholar 

  22. Kress, G. (2011). “Partnerships in research”: Multimodality and ethnography. Qualitative Research, 11(3), 239–260.

    Google Scholar 

  23. Kress, G. (2010). Multimodality: A social semiotic approach to contemporary communication. New York: Routledge.

    Google Scholar 

  24. Kress, G. (1997). Before Writing: Rethinking the paths to literacy. London: Routledge.

    Google Scholar 

  25. Kress, G. R., & Bezemer, J. (2016). Multimodality, learning and communication: A social semiotic frame. New York: Routledge.

    Google Scholar 

  26. Kress, G., & van Leeuwen, T. (2006). Reading images: The grammar of visual design (2nd ed.). New York: Routledge.

    Google Scholar 

  27. Kuby, C., & Rucker, T. (2016). Go be a writer! Expanding the curricular boundaries of literacy learning with children. New York: Teachers College Press.

    Google Scholar 

  28. Lantolf, J. (2000). Introducing sociocultural theory. In J. Lantolf (Ed.), Sociocultural theory and second language learning (pp. 1–26). New York: Oxford University Press.

    Google Scholar 

  29. Li, W. (2018). Translanguaging as a practical theory. Applied Linguistics, 39(1), 9–30.

    Google Scholar 

  30. Lindfors, J. (1991). Children’s language and learning (2nd ed.). Boston, MA: Allyn & Bacon.

    Google Scholar 

  31. Lotherington, H. (2011). Pedagogy of multiliteracies: Rewriting Goldilocks. New York: Routledge.

    Google Scholar 

  32. Mavers, D. (2011). Children’s drawing and writing: The remarkable in the unremarkable. New York: Routledge.

    Google Scholar 

  33. Mills, K. (2016). Literacy theories for the digital age: Social, critical, multimodal, spatial, material and sensory lenses. Bristol: Multilingual Matters.

    Google Scholar 

  34. Mills, K., & Unsworth, L. (2018). iPad animations: powerful multimodal practices for adolescent literacy and emotional language. Journal of Adolescent & Adult Literacy, 61(6), 609–620.

    Google Scholar 

  35. Palinkas, L. A., Horwitz, S. M., Green, C. A., Wisdom, J. P., Duan, N., & Hoagwood, K. (2015). Purposeful sampling for qualitative data collection and analysis in mixed method implementation research. Administration and Policy in Mental Health. https://doi.org/10.1007/s10488-013-0528-y.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  36. Pahl, K. (2009). Interactions, intersections and improvisations: Studying the multimodal texts and classroom talk of six-to seven-year-olds. Journal of Early Childhood Literacy, 9(2), 188–210.

    Google Scholar 

  37. Pahl, K., & Rowsell, J. (2012). Literacy and education (2nd ed.). London: Sage.

    Google Scholar 

  38. Pantaleo, S. (2012). Meaning-making with colour in multimodal texts: An 11-year-old student's purposeful 'doing'. Literacy., 46, 147–155. https://doi.org/10.1111/j.1741-4369.2012.00664.x.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  39. Pérez, B. (2004). Language, literacy, and biliteracy. In B. Pérez (Ed.), Sociocultural contexts of language and literacy (2nd ed., pp. 24–56). Mahwah, NJ: Lawrence Erlbaum.

    Google Scholar 

  40. Rowe, D. (2012). Recent trends in research on young children’s authoring. In J. Larson & J. Marsh (Eds.), The sage handbook of early childhood literacy (2nd ed., pp. 423–447). Thousand Oaks, CA: Sage.

    Google Scholar 

  41. Rowe, D. (2018). The unrealized promise of emergent writing: Reimagining the way forward for early writing instruction. Language Arts, 95(4), 229–241.

    Google Scholar 

  42. Rowe, D. W., & Miller, M. E. (2016). Designing for diverse classrooms: Using iPads and digital cameras to compose eBooks with emergent bilingual/biliterate four-year-olds. Journal of Early Childhood Literacy. https://doi.org/10.1177/1468798415593622.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  43. Rowsell, J., & Harwood, D. (2015). “Let it go”: Exploring the image of the child as a producer, consumer, and inventor. Theory into Practice, 54(2), 136–146.

    Google Scholar 

  44. Sakr, M., Connelly, V., & Wild, M. (2016). “Evil cats” and “jelly floods”: Young children’s collective constructions of digital art making in the early years classroom. Journal of Research in Childhood Education, 30(1), 128–141.

    Google Scholar 

  45. Sefton-Green, J., Marsh, J., Erstad, O., & Flewitt, R. (2016). Establishing a research agenda for the digital literacy practices of young children: A white paper for COST Action IS1410. Retrieved from https://digilitey.eu.

  46. Soltero-González, L., & Reyes, I. (2012). Literacy practices and language use among Latino emergent bilingual children in preschool contexts. In E. Bauer & M. Gort (Eds.), Early biliteracy development: Exploring young learners’ use of their linguistic resources (pp. 34–54). New York: Routledge.

    Google Scholar 

  47. Souto-Manning, M., & Martell, J. (2016). Reading, writing, and talk: Inclusive teaching strategies for diverse learners, K-2. New York: Teachers College Press.

    Google Scholar 

  48. Shanahan, L. E. (2013). Composing “kid-friendly” multimodal text: When conversations, instruction, and signs come together. Written Communication. https://doi.org/10.1177/0741088313480328.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  49. Spradley, J. (1980). Participant observation. New York: Harcourt Brace College Publishers.

    Google Scholar 

  50. The Governor’s Office of Student Achievement: GA School Grade Reports. (n.d.). Retrieved from https://schoolgrades.georgia.gov/.

  51. van Leeuwen, T. (2005). Introducing social semiotics. New York: Routledge.

    Google Scholar 

  52. Vygotsky, L. (1978). Mind in society: The development of higher psychological processes. Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press.

    Google Scholar 

  53. Wiesner, D. (2010). Art and Max. New York: Clarion Books.

    Google Scholar 

  54. Williams, C., & Lowrance-Faulhaber, E. (2018). Writing in young bilingual children: A review of research. Journal of Second Language Writing, 42, 58–69.

    Google Scholar 

  55. Wong Fillmore, L. (1991). Second-language learning in children: A model of language learning in context. In E. Bialystok (Ed.), Language processing in bilingual children (pp. 49–69). New York: Cambridge University Press.

    Google Scholar 

  56. Zapata, A., & Van Horn, S. (2017). “Because I’m smooth”: Material intra-action and text productions among young Latino picture book makers. Research in the Teaching of English, 51(5), 290–315.

    Google Scholar 

Download references

Acknowledgement

The authors would like to acknowledge funding from the Georgia Southern University College of Education Faculty Seed Grant.

Author information

Affiliations

Authors

Corresponding author

Correspondence to Sally Brown.

Additional information

Publisher's Note

Springer Nature remains neutral with regard to jurisdictional claims in published maps and institutional affiliations.

Electronic supplementary material

Below is the link to the electronic supplementary material.

Online Appendix (DOCX 24 kb)

Rights and permissions

Reprints and Permissions

About this article

Verify currency and authenticity via CrossMark

Cite this article

Brown, S., Allmond, A. Constructing My World: A Case Study Examining Emergent Bilingual Multimodal Composing Practices. Early Childhood Educ J 49, 209–221 (2021). https://doi.org/10.1007/s10643-020-01062-4

Download citation

Keywords

  • Emergent bilinguals
  • Multimodal
  • Early literacy
  • Composing
  • Assessment
  • Technology